7 Easy Ways to Modify Stress-Related Coping Strategies, During COVID-19

The unknowns that lie ahead may not only serve to elevate already stressful circumstances, but can also beg the question, “how?” How can we adjust some of our favorite or most reliable coping mechanisms if we aren’t able to go the gym, out to an event, or socialize with friends?

Here are seven ways you can recreate your favorite coping strategies so that you can stay mentally and emotionally healthy during this highly unusual time.

1. In-Person Socializing → Video Hangouts

This is probably something you’ve already started doing now that much of the U.S. has been in “shelter at home” status for nearly a month now. But it’s worth considering taking full advantage of this opportunity to chat or virtually hangout with nearly anyone, anywhere in the world. Here are some ideas on how to take that FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype chat to the next level:

  • Game Night: Save the date, invite your friends, choose a game, and make some snacks. Treat it like you would if you were all in-person, going all out to make it just as memorable as always.
  • Netflix Party App: Download this free Chrome app on your computer so you can start a Netflix movie at the exact same time as those in other time zones. A chat bar will also appear on the screen so you can comment on the movie and message throughout. Individual users can also pause the movie for all participants.
  • Wine Night / Cooking Dinner or Brunch Together: Miss having wine night, dinner, or brunch with your closest friends? Fire up your go-to video chat service, put your phone on mute, and cook together, drink together, chat together safe at home.

2. Going to The Gym → At-Home Workout Plan

Here’s another one you may have started to dabble with. There are an abundance of free workout resources online, especially now. This makes it easier than ever for you to learn unique ways to use your furniture and other home goods to substitute for the gym. Here are some places to get started:

  • Yoga With Adrienne
  • Nike Training Club
  • Body Pump by Les Mills
  • AmazonPrime for Zoomba and GymRa

3. Go Out Dancing → Indoor Dance Party

Whether you enjoy going out dancing or not, science shows us that moving our bodies to music helps with our mental and emotional state. Plus, it can be a decent form of exercise in its own right. Even if it feels a little forced at first, go ahead and put on some music that gets you moving! You can plan a private, one-person dance party in your room; invite those you’re already quarantined with; or heck, start a Skype or Zoom chat and invite other friends and family to dance it out with you! CLICK HERE for a list of 5 virtual dance parties that you can join and/or get inspiration for how to host your own.

4. Going to a Concert → Car-Concerts

If you’re sharing quarantine space with a roommate, kids, and/or other family members this is a great one to get you out of a hectic environment. Let your quarantine buddies know you’re taking some “me” time, hop into the car, and blast your favorite toons. Rock out like you’re at a show as best you can. Don’t have a car? Grab some earbuds or headphones, lock yourself in the closet or garage, and enjoy. This may also lead to an impromptu dance party. But as you know by now, we support that too!

5. Spa Retreat → At-Home Spa Night

Indulge yourself with at-home luxury by transforming your bathroom into a personal spa. There’s no need to remodel your bathroom in order to achieve this. Here are some ways to spa-ify your existing wash room:

  • Buy some bath salts or a sudsy bath bomb.
  • Add plants. Succulents and air plants are low maintained and do well in low light environments. Eucalyptus is also a great option as the smell is heightened with moisture.
  • Invest in some new candles. Nothing says relaxation like candlelight!
  • Rest a wooden caddy across the tub, or place a side table nearby, for a book, candles, and a cup of tea.

6. Dining Out → Kitchen Cooking Challenge

There’s a chance you’re already spending a bit more time in the kitchen than you did before now but it doesn’t mean we have to cook the same old stuff. This is a great time to challenge yourself to try some new dishes! Perhaps more time consuming or more intricate recipes? Have fun with plating and wine pairings too. The options are endless. Plus, when this is over you can show off your new skills to friends, family, on your next date; or host a cookoff with those in your circle who are also learning new cooking skills!

7. Old Morning Routine → New Morning Routine

This one might be among the most important. Especially for those whose day-to-day is now completely different than it did before COVID-19. In order to help our bodies and minds stay healthy, and to keep from spiraling into unhealthy actions, keeping a consistent morning routine may be key.

Even if you already had a morning routine before, it’s important to keep it going or find ways to improve it or make it a little different. Here are some healthy ways to start each day:

  • Meditate. Started with guided meditations if you’re new to this practice. Or simply sit quietly and pay attention to your breath. When you catch your mind wandering, reverently bring it back to your breath.
  • Visualize. Spend time envisioning an outcome you’d like to see in the near future. Feeling into that outcome, the joy of it, the excitement of it, the gratitude of it, is just as important as the thought itself.
  • Journal. After you meditate and visualize, write down any thoughts that come up. It doesn’t have to make sense but science shows us that freewriting can be therapeutic and help us clear our minds.
  • Breathing Exercises. You may find value in deep breathing. Check out The Wim Hof Method to get started.
  • Move Your Body. Whether it’s some simple stretching or a few jumping jacks, or your full exercise routine, starting the day with movement will kickstart your mind and body into a focused place.
  • Give Your Day Meaning. Set your schedule for the day. Even if it’s listing out your time spent cleaning, shopping, or meditating, outlining your schedule can be crucial to stay clear and motivated.

While these are all meaningful suggestions that you can do on your own, or with those you quarantined with, you may be seeking additional support. If you’re interested in a small group setting, please consider our ‘Grief Support’ or ‘Let’s Talk Loss’ virtual meetups. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Photo credit: Pixabay, MarlyneArt